Change Agent 

1e. Connect leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers to maximize the potential of technology for learning. 

The source in this project will not be identified for privacy reasons. 

Background 

The Middle School Dual Language Immersion Program in my school district began piloting a program to support Dual Language Immersion students’ literacy development in December of 2021. This program has adapted a digital literacy learning platform called MM. Dual Language Immersion program in our district has been lacking literacy materials and assessment to align curriculum and literacy standards from kindergarten to 8th grade. It has been a challenge for district and school leaders to measure dual language immersion students’ literacy development in the target language since each immersion school is using varied materials and assessment in teaching literacy.  

This digital tool is a customized, cloud-based guided reading platform for second language learners from kindergarten through middle school. Their online classroom offers an integrated range of learning tools that have been designed to be user-friendly and engaging, allowing each student to follow their individual learning journey toward developing knowledge of the language and improving personal proficiency outcomes.  

A survey was conducted in students’ and teachers’ attitude toward this learning platform using Microsoft Forms in February. As reflecting on one of the survey results from both teachers and students, kindergarten and first grade students have experienced challenges logging into the platform independently due to the long username and password. Without being able to log into the platform independently, it resulted in kindergarten and 1st grade teachers spending a significant amount of time helping students login during instruction, and students are not able to use the platform outside of school time. It defeats the purpose of providing students with literacy support at home.  

Learning and Success  

A solution was to integrate this digital tool into the current cloud system called Clever in our district. However, the integration did not go well due to the system requirements and miscommunication among teachers, tech support staff, and vendors. As a teacher leader for our Dual Language teaching team, I believe to maximize the potential of this digital tool for learning, we need to establish a dedicated support network for our teachers and students. Therefore, I worked closely with our international school leaders, district technology support leaders and staff, technology support from vendor, and teachers to identify the integration issue and address and problem solve the issue in the Professional Development workshop. At the end of the workshop, our team of leaders and tech support staff confirmed that the integration cannot be implemented due to the district system requirement. However, the collaboration during this process has demonstrated the following learning and success:  

  • Our current technology support from the district is lacking a follow-up support network and feedback channels for teachers and students to share and request additional support. For example, after a digital tool is approved by the district, this tool is available for teachers and students to use without any further integration support, or the district assumes follow-up support should be provided from vendor.  
  • Our teachers and students rely on getting technology support from the district by filing a “tech ticket”. A method of using a tech ticket to ask for support requires teachers and students to understand the tech issue and the language and terminology used to describe their questions and decode the answer received back from the tech support. While teachers tried to file “tech ticket” and received answers with complicated instructions and tech language, they were less motivated to continue moving forward in using the tool for teaching and learning.
  • Although our team was not able to make the integration happen successfully, teachers in the workshop had opportunities to express their feedback and suggestions in the process. Technology leaders from our district recommended and facilitated other solutions, for example using a different browser to remember username and password. Technology support from vendor also provided accommodation by shortening usernames and passwords for kindergarten and first grade students.  

In conclusion, a support network established by leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers need to be in place to maximize the potential of technology for learning in schools, and this network should be implemented as a district expectation for all technology learning tools to ensure the confidence in teachers and students.  

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